CHIME’s recently released 2021 Digital Health Most Wired Survey explores how the pandemic and regulatory changes have fueled a surge in adoption for patient engagement technology over the past year.
The survey of nearly 750 healthcare organizations offering acute, ambulatory, and long-term post-acute care (LTPAC) assesses the progress these providers are making on their digital transformations, offering insight into the adoption of several new technologies.
Patient Telehealth Use Stabilizes
- Telehealth use has stabilized as a hybrid care option for most organizations
- 77% reported that >10% of patients used telehealth in 2021 (up from 67% in 2020)
- 26% reported that >25% of patients used telehealth in 2021 (down from 32% in 2020)
Patient Portals Expand Capabilities
- 88% of ambulatory care organizations report that >25% of patients accessed their portal in the last year, vs. 83% for acute and 82% for LTPAC
- Many portal capabilities are now considered standard, with test results and secure messaging all adopted by >90% of organizations
- OpenNotes access saw the most dramatic growth, up to 89% adoption in 2021 (vs. 65% in 2020)
Mobile Apps Gain Functionality
- Most common mobile app capabilities are text reminders (86%), EHR access (84%), prescription renewal (84%), and visit scheduling (80%)
- Service pricing lists saw the most growth in 2021, up 22% in 2021 (50% adoption)
- LTPAC organization apps have a wide feature gap, with text appointment reminders and wayfinding functionality each 18% less common than in acute and ambulatory care apps
The rising adoption of new patient portal and mobile app features underscores the fact that most healthcare organizations have been fairly agile in their response to the pandemic, aiming to provide patients with greater transparency into their own care.
Telehealth’s continued climb in utilization is balanced by the fact that fewer providers are using it as their only way to offer care like during the pandemic, and instead viewing it as a core component of a modern patient experience.